Coptic Synaxarium


The First Day
1.The Commemoration of the Ecumenical Council in Constantinople.
2.The Commemoration of the Consecration of the Church of St. Peter, the Seal of
Martyrs.

1-1
. On this day of the year 381 A.D., one hundred and fifty fathers assembled upon
the order of Emperor Theodosius the Great, in the city of Constantinople. They
assembled to judge Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Sabellius and
Apollinaris, for their blasphemy against God the Word and the Holy Spirit. When this
blasphemy became widespread, the fathers of the church were concerned about the
peace of the church, and made these heresies known to Emperor Theodosius. He
ordered that a council be assembled, and invited Abba Timothy, 22nd Pope of
Alexandria; Abba Damasus, Pope of Rome; Abba Petros (Peter), Patriarch of Antioch;
and Abba Cyril (Kyrillos), Patriarch of Jerusalem. They came to the council with their
bishops, except the Pope of Rome, who delegated others to attend on his behalf.
When the holy council convened in Constantinople, they called upon Macedonius. Abba
Timothy, Pope of Alexandria, who was presiding over the council, asked him, "What is
your belief?" Macedonius answered that the Holy Spirit was created like any other
creature. Abba Timothy said, "The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. If we say as you
claim that the Spirit of God is created, we are saying, in essence, that His Life is
created, and therefore, He is 'lifeless' without it." He advised Macedonius to renounce
his erroneous belief. When he refused, Macedonius was excommunicated,
anathematized and striped of his rank.
Then Abba Timothy asked Sabellius, "And you, what is your belief?" He answered, "The
Trinity is one being and one person." Abba Timothy said, "If the Trinity is as you
claim, then the mentioning of the Trinity is groundless, and your baptism is futile,
because it is in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity
would have suffered pain and died, and the saying of the gospel would be invalid,
when it is said that the Son was in the Jordan River, and the Holy Spirit descended
upon Him in the likeness of a dove, and the Father called upon Him from heaven."
Then Abba Timothy advised him to renounce his belief. When Sabellius did not accept,
Abba Timothy excommunicated, anathematized and striped him of his rank.
Then Abba Timothy asked Apollinaris, "And you, what is your belief?" Apollinaris said,
"The Incarnation of the Son was by His union with the human flesh without the
rational being, for His divinity replaced the soul and the mind of the human being."
Abba Timothy replied, "God the Word united with our nature to save us, therefore if
He only united with the animal body, then He did not save mankind but the animals.
Humans will rise on the day of Resurrection with the rational and speaking soul with
which there will be the communication and the judgement, and with it they will be
granted the blessing or the condemnation. Accordingly, the Incarnation would be in
vain. If that was the case, why did He call Himself a man if He did not unite with the
rational speaking soul?" Then Abba Timothy advised him to turn away from his
erroneous belief, but he also refused. He excommunicated Apollinaris as he did the
other two friends.
Ultimately, the council excommunicated these three and all those who agreed with
them. Then they completed the creed that was established by the fathers at the
Council of Nicea until its saying, "Of Whose Kingdom shall be no end." The fathers of
the Council of Constantinople added, "Truly we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,
Giver of Life... to the end." They put down many canons that are still in the hands of
the believers today.
The prayers of these holy fathers be with us. Amen.
1-2. On this day also, we celebrate the commemoration of the consecration of the
Church of St. Peter, 17th Pope of Alexandria and the Seal of Martyrs . He was martyred
in Alexandria during the last days of the reign of Diocletian the Infidel.
When Emperor Constantine the Great reigned, and all the idol temples were
destroyed, churches were built. So the believers built this church west of Alexandria in
the name of St. Peter, the Seal of Martyrs. The church existed till shortly after the
reign of the Arabs over Egypt, when it was destroyed.
His blessings be with us and glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Second Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Departure of the Great Saint Anba Paul, the First Hermit.
2. The Departure of St. Longinus, Abbot of El-Zugag Monastery.

2-1
. On this day of the year 341 A.D., the great saint Anba Paul, the first hermit,
departed. This Saint was from the city of Alexandria, and had a brother whose name
was Peter. After the departure of their father, they divided the inheritance between
them. When his brother took the greater share, Paul's feelings were hurt, by his
brother's action. He said to his brother, "Why don't you give me my rightful share of
the inheritance of my father?" Peter responded, "You are a young man, and I am afraid
that you might squander it. As for me, I will keep it for you."
When they did not agree with each other, they went to the governor to judge between
them. On their way, they saw a funeral procession. Paul asked one of the mourners
about the deceased man. Paul was told that he was one of the noble and rich people
of the city, and that he left his riches and his wealth behind, and that they were
taking him to bury him with only his garment.
St. Paul sighed in his heart and said to himself, "What do I have to do then with all
the money of this temporal world which I shall leave naked?" He looked to his brother
and said to him, "My brother, let us return, for I shall not ask you for anything, not
even for what is mine."
On their way back, Paul left his brother and went on his way until he came out of the
city. Paul found a grave where he stayed for three days praying to the Lord Christ to
guide him to what pleases Him. As for his brother, he searched for Paul diligently and
when he did not find him, he was very sorry for what he had done.
God sent St. Paul an angel who took him out of this place, and walked with him until
they reached the eastern inner wilderness. He stayed there for 70 years, during which
he saw no one. He put on a tunic made of palm tree fiber. The Lord sent him a raven
every day with a half loaf of bread.
When the Lord wanted to reveal the holiness of St. Paul and his righteousness, He
sent His angel to St. Antony (Antonius) the Great, who thought that he was the first
to dwell in the wilderness. The angel told St. Antony, "There is a man who lives in the
inner wilderness; the world is not worthy of his footsteps. By his prayers, the Lord
brings rain and dew to fall on the earth, and bring the flood of the Nile in its due
season."
When St. Antony heard this, he rose right away and went to the inner wilderness, a
distance of one day's walk. God guided him to the cave of St. Paul. He entered, and
they bowed to each other, and sat down talking about the greatness of the Lord.
In the evening, the raven came bringing a whole loaf of bread. St. Paul said to St.
Antony, "Now, I know that you are one of the children of God. For 70 years, the Lord
has been sending to me everyday, half a loaf of bread, but today, the Lord is sending
your food also. Now, go and bring me back in a hurry the tunic that Emperor
Constantine had given to Pope Athanasius."
St. Antony went to St. Athanasius, and brought the tunic from him and returned to St.
Paul. On his way back, he saw the soul of St. Paul carried by the angels up to heaven.
When he arrived to the cave, he found that St. Paul had departed from this world. He
kissed him, weeping, and clothed him in the tunic that he asked for, and he took his
fiber tunic.
When St. Antony wanted to bury St. Paul, he wondered how could he dig the grave?
Two lions entered the cave, bowed their heads before the body of St. Paul, and shook
their heads as if they were asking St. Anthony what to do. St. Antony knew that they
were sent from God. He marked the length and width of the body on the ground, and
they dug the grave with their claws, according to St. Antony's directions. St. Anthony
then buried the holy body, and went back to Pope Athanasius and told him what had
happened. St. Athanasius sent men to bring St. Paul's body to him. They spent several
days searching in the mountains, but they could not find the place of his grave. St.
Paul appeared to the Pope in a vision and told him that the Lord would not allow the
revelation of the location of his body. He asked the Pope not to trouble the men, but
to have them brought back.
Pope Athanasius used to put the palm fiber tunic on three times a year during the
Divine Liturgy. One time, he wanted to let the people know about the holiness of the
owner of that tunic. He put it over a dead man, and the dead man rose up instantly.
The news of this miracle spread all around the land of Egypt.
His prayers be with us all. Amen.
2. On this day also, the pure saint Anba Longinus, the abbot of the El-Zugag
monastery, departed. He was from Cilicia (in Asia Minor). He became a monk in one of
the monasteries, where his father Lucianus became a monk after his wife had died.
When the abbot of this monastery departed, the monks wanted to appoint St.
Lucianus an abbot over them, but he refused, for he shunned the vain glory of the
world.     He took his son Longinus and went to Syria, where they lived in a church.
God revealed their virtues by performing many miracles through them. For fear of the
vain glory of this world, Longinus went to Egypt with his father's permission.
When he arrived, he went to the monastery of El-Zugag, west of Alexandria. The
monks received him with joy. After the departure of the abbot, the monks appointed
Anba Longinus abbot over them, for what they saw of his virtues and his good
conduct. Shortly after, his father Lucianus came to him, and they worked together in
making the canvas sails of boats, and sold them to support themselves. God
performed many miracles and signs on their hands. Father Lucianus departed from this
world in peace, and shortly after, his son, Anba Longinus, departed also.
The prayers of these two saints be with us, and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Third Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Departure of St. James, the Ascetic
On this day, St. James, the ascetic monk, departed. This father denounced the world
since his childhood. He dwelt in a cave for 15 years, during which he struggled with
long fasting and numerous prayers. He did not leave his cave all this time.
Some followers of the evil one plotted against him, and they sent him a harlot. She
decorated herself and went and entered his cave. She tried to get closer to him and
flirted with him to entice him to commit sin with her. But he preached to her, and
reminded her of the fire of hell, and the eternal punishments. She repented on his
hand and went back to the city, thanking God, Who had compassion on her and
brought her back from the way of eternal death to the way of eternal life. God
performed many miracles through him. When he finished his good struggle in this life,
he departed in peace.
His prayers be with us, and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Fourth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Martyrdom of St. Agabus, One of the Seventy Disciples
On this day, St. Agabus, one of the seventy disciples, was martyred. The seventy
disciples were chosen by the Lord to go before Him to preach the gospel. St. Agabus
was with the twelve disciples in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, and he was
filled with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
He received the gift of prophecy, as the Acts of the Apostles tells us, "And as we
stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he
had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, 'Thus
says the Holy Spirit, so shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt,
and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" (Acts 21:10-11) This prophecy was
fulfilled. (Acts 21:17-36) He also prophesied about a famine on all the earth, and this
was fulfilled during the time of Claudius Caesar, the Roman Emperor. (Acts 11:27-28)
He preached the gospel together with the holy apostles. He went to many countries,
teaching and converting many of the Jews and the Greeks to the knowledge of the
Lord Christ. He sanctified them by the life-giving baptism.
This moved the Jews of Jerusalem to arrest him, and they tortured him by beating him
severely, and putting a rope around his neck, and they dragged him outside the city.
They stoned him there until he gave up his pure spirit. At this moment, a light came
down from heaven. Everyone saw it as a continuous column between his body and
heaven. A Jewish woman saw it and said, "Truly this man was righteous." She shouted
in a loud voice, "I am a Christian and I believe in the God of this saint." They stoned
her also and she died and was buried with him in one tomb.
Their prayers be with us and glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Departure of St. Agrippinus, 10th Pope of Alexandria.
2. The Commemoration of the Saints Anba Bishay and Anba Abanoub.
3. The Departure of St. Apollo, friend of Anba Abib.
4. The Commemoration of the Relocation of the Relics of the Forty-Nine Elders of the
Wilderness of Shiheet (Scetis).
1. On this day of the year 181 A.D., the holy father Anba Agrippinus, 10th Pope of
Alexandria, departed. This father was holy and pure and he feared God. He was
ordained a priest on the church of Alexandria.
When Pope Cladianus, 9th Pope departed, Anba Agrippinus was chosen Patriarch by
the people and clergy of Alexandria. By the grace of God, he took over the apostolic
throne of Alexandria and walked in the footsteps of the apostles.
Anba Agrippinus preached the word of God and taught the principle of faith with its
life-giving laws. He Guarded his flock, with all his strength, by teaching them and
praying on their behalf. He did not own any silver or gold, except for what met his
basic personal needs. He completed his course after 12 years on the throne of St.
Mark, and he departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, the church celebrates the commemoration of the saints Anba
Bishay of Akhmim monastery, and Anba Abanub, known as the owner of the Golden
Fan.
Their prayers be with us all. Amen.
3. On this day also, the church commemorates the departure of St. Apollo, friend of
St. Abib.
His prayers be with us all. Amen.
4. Today also, we celebrate the commemoration of the relocation of the relics of the
forty-nine saints of the wilderness of Shiheet to their church in the monastery of St.
Macarius.
Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Sixth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Appearance of the Body of St. Apolidus (Hippolytus), Pope of Rome.
2. The Martyrdom of the Saints Abakir, John, the Three Virgins and Their Mother.
1. On this day the church celebrates the appearance of the body of St. Apolidus
(Hippolytus), Pope of Rome. He was a virtuous and a perfect man in his generation.
He was chosen to the Roman See after Father Augius. This was in the first year of the
enthronement of Abba Cladianus, 9th Pope of Alexandria. Pope Apolidus was always
teaching his people and guarding them from the pagan influences, confirming them in
the faith of the Lord Christ.
When reports of St. Apolidus reached the infidel Emperor Claudius Caesar, he arrested
him and tortured him severely. The Emperor then tied his feet with a heavy stone, and
cast him in the sea on the 5th day of Amshir.
On the following day, one of the faithful found the body of the saint floating above
the water, and the stone was bound to his feet. The man took it to his home and
shrouded the body. The news spread in the City of Rome and in all the neighboring
cities, and it reached Caesar, who asked for the body, but the man hid it.
This father left a great wealth of teachings about the Incarnation, and several
sermons about Christian teaching. He also established 38 by laws.
His prayers be with us all. Amen.
2. On this day also, the saints Abakir; John; the three virgins, Theodora (which means
the gift of God), Theopisti "Theophana" (which means the faithfulness of God), and
Theodosia (which means the glory of God); and their mother, Athanasia (which means
the immortal), were martyred.
St. Abakir was a monk since his young age, and St. John was a soldier in the private
guards of the Emperor. They left Alexandria, their own home town, and lived in
Antioch. When Diocletian incited the persecution against the Christians, they
confessed their faith in the Lord Christ along with the virgins and their mother.
When the Emperor knew that they were from Alexandria, he returned them to the
governor of Alexandria. When they came to Alexandria, and were brought before the
Governor, they confessed their faith in the Lord Christ. He ordered them beheaded. St.
Athanasia was comforting and confirming her daughters and telling them that if they
were martyred, they would become the brides of Christ. The virgins were beheaded
first, then their mother, then St. Abakir and St. John. Their bodies were cast to the
wild beasts and to the birds of the sky. However, some believers came and took their
bodies by night and they placed them in a coffin and hid them until the end of the
time of persecution.
Their prayers be with us, and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Seventh Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Departure of St. Alexandros II, 43rd Pope of Alexandria.
2. The Departure of St. Theodorus (Theodore), 45th Pope of Alexandria.
1. On this day of the year 715 A.D., the Holy Father Abba Alexandros II (Alexander),
43rd Popeof Alexandria, departed. He was from the City of Bana. He became a monk in
the monastery of Pateron (Barbarun) or the monastery of the fathers, which was also
known as El-Zugag  monastery, which was west of Alexandria. Because of his
righteousness and his knowledge, he was chosen to the throne of St. Mark.
During his papacy, he suffered many hardships. He was contemporary to the Caliph
El-Walid Ibn Abd-Elmalek. When the latter took the caliphate, he appointed his
brother Abdallah a governor of Egypt in the year 698 A.D. He mistreated the Christians
of Egypt, and confiscated the monasteries of the wilderness of Shiheet (Scetis).
His evil nature went to the extreme. One day he entered a monastery in Upper Egypt,
and saw an icon of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, and inquired about it. He was
told that it was the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ, the Savior of the world, he spat
on the icon and said, "If I live, I shall destroy all the Christians." He then blasphemed
against the Lord Christ also.
At night, he saw a vision during his sleep which disturbed him, and filled his heart
with fear. He wrote to his brother saying, "that he suffered the day before as he saw a
Man sitting on a great throne, and His face shone more than the sun, and around Him
were thousands carrying arms. We were bound behind Him. When I asked who He
was, I was told that He was Christ Jesus, the King of the Christians, Whom I mocked
and despised the day before. One of the armed men came and pierced my side with a
spear."
His brother was extremely sad when he heard about the vision. The same night, that
man, Abdallah, caught a severe fever and died. Forty days later, his brother El-Walid
died also. In 701 A.D. another Governor replaced Abdallah, and he followed his
predecessor's policy. He mistreated the Christians, and arrested St. Alexandros and
tortured him until the believers collected for him three thousand Dinari. God perished
this Governor soon after that.
The following Governor, was even more wicked than the one before him. He ordered
the arrest of the Pope, and asked him for three thousand Dinari. The Pope excused
himself saying that part of the money that he paid to his predecessor was collected
from some of the believers and the rest was borrowed. The Governor did not accept
his words, and finally the Pope asked him for a grace period.
The Pope went to Upper Egypt to collect the money from the believers. During his
travel, an ascetic monk asked two of his disciples to dig out a cave. While they were
digging, they found five copper jars filled with gold. They kept one of them and gave
the rest to the hermit, which he sent to the Pope. The two disciples took the gold and
left the desert. They went out into the world, married, and owned cattle, slaves and
maidenservants.
The Governor was informed about these two men, and he called them to him. He
threatened them if they did not tell him the truth about their sudden wealth. They
told him about the five jars of gold, and that four jars were given to the Pope. He
rushed to the patriarchate and plundered all the church vessels. He seized the Pope,
insulted him and put him in prison. He demanded from the Pope the jars and the three
thousand Dinari. He did not release him until the Pope gave it all to him.
Shortly after that, this Governor died, and another even more evil came after him. He
ordered the Christians to tattoo on their wrists, instead of the sign of the honorable
Cross, the name of the "beast" that St. John the Theologian had prophesied about in
all the land. He also commanded the Pope to tattoo the sign of the beast on his wrist,
but the Pope refused. As the Governor insisted, the Pope asked him for three days.
The Pope went to his cell and prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ not to forsake him so
that he would not fail in this test. The Lord answered his prayer, so he fell with a brief
sickness.
He went to the Governor and asked his permission to go to Alexandria. The Governor
refused, thinking that the Pope was pretending to be sick just to escape the
tattooing. Afterwards, the Lord inspired him that he would depart from this world after
four days. He told this to his disciples, and asked them to prepare a carriage to carry
his body and to bury him beside the holy fathers. He departed in peace, and was
carried for his burial as he requested.
During the papacy of Abba Alexandros, the Melkites had a Patriarch in Egypt by the
name of Anastasius, who was hated by his own people because he loved the Orthodox
Copts and was peaceful with them. He left his own congregation and went to Pope
Alexandros, and confessed the Orthodox faith before him. The Pope treated the
Patriarch well, honored him and wanted to hand him the affairs of the patriarchate so
he could go and worship in seclusion in one of the monasteries. Father Anastasius
refused and said to him, "If I had desired the patriarchal seat, I could have remained
there, for I was a patriarch, but now I want to be your disciple." He finally accepted,
however, to become a bishop in one of the bishoprics, and he shepherded the flock
entrusted to him well.
Abba Alexandros remained on the seat of St. Mark for 24 years and 9 months.
His prayers be with us all. Amen.
2. On this day also, of the year 728 A.D., St. Theodorus (Theodore), 45th Pope of
Alexandria, departed. He was a monk in a monastery near Mariut, which was known as
the monastery of Tanboura, under the guidance of a virtuous elder called Yoannis
(John). Abba Yoannis was inspired by the Holy Spirit that his disciple Tadros one day
would become a Pope. He told those who were in authority.
Tadros struggled in his worship, and was perfect in his humility and meekness. He was
chosen by the will of God to become the Pope of Alexandria. He shepherd the flock of
the Lord Christ well. He continued to read and to preach to his people, especially on
Sundays and on feast days. He completed 12 years on the seat of St. Mark and
departed in peace.
His prayers be with us, and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Feast of Presenting the Lord Christ in the Temple
On this day we celebrate the feast of presenting the Lord Christ to the temple after 40
days of His blessed birth. St. Joseph the righteous and His mother, the Virgin Mary,
presented Him in the temple, to fulfill the Mosaic Law.
St. Luke the Evangelist says that when His parents brought Him according to the
custom of the law, the just and devout Simeon the elder took Him in his arms and
blessed God and said, "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
according to Your Word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have
prepared before the face of all people, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and
the Glory of Your people Israel." (Luke 2:29-32)
Simeon was one of the 70 elders who translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to
Greek. This was in the time of Ptolemy Soter in the year 296 B.C., who was sent by
the will of God to Jerusalem. He brought 70 men from among the learned Jewish
teachers and scholars and commanded them to translate the Old Testament from
Hebrew to Greek.
He put every two of them in an isolated place so they would not agree on one
translation, and to ensure a correct text after comparing all of the translations.
Simeon the elder was one of them. When Simeon was translating the verse from
Isaiah 7:14, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name
Immanuel," he was afraid to translate that a virgin would conceive, because the King
would mock him. He wanted to translate the virgin as a "young lady." He was
disturbed because of this inaccurate translation, and God revealed to him in a vision
that he would not die before he would see Christ the Lord born of a virgin.
This was fulfilled and he lived about three hundred years. When Christ was born; he
was very well advanced in age and his sight dimmed.
When he carried the child Jesus in his hands, his sight came back to him, and the Holy
Spirit told him, "This is the child that you have been waiting for." He blessed God and
said, "You are letting Your servant depart in peace according to Your Word, for my
eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles and the Glory of Your people Israel." (Luke
2:28-32)
The prayers of this righteous man be with us, and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Ninth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Departure of St. Barsauma, the Father of the Syrian Monks.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Paul, the Syrian.
1. On this day of the year 458 A.D., the blessed father Anba Barsauma, the father of
the Syrian monks, departed. His father was from Samosata. One of the saints
prophesied about him before his birth, saying to his parents, "There shall go forth
from you a righteous fruit, whose fame shall spread out every where," and this
prophecy was fulfilled.
When Barsauma grew up, he left his parents and went to the river Euphrates where he
stayed with a holy man called Abraham. Afterwards, he lived a solitary life in the
mountain and many disciples gathered around him. The water in this place was salty,
and the saint prayed to God and the water became sweet. He used to fast for a week
at a time. God wrought through him many miracles. St. Barsauma was a contemporary
of St. Simeon the Stylite. When St. Barsauma knew about him, he went to visit him
and they blessed each other. He was well known for his resistance to the heresy of
Nestorius and his followers.
He attended the Universal Council at Ephesus at the invitation of Emperor Theodosius
the Less, who gave him a great honor. Some accused St. Barsauma of eating, drinking
and living a luxurious life. The Emperor called him and saw for himself St. Barsauma's
righteousness and his ascetic living. The Emperor vindicated him and allowed him to
return to his monastery with great honor.
When Emperor Marcian called for the Council at Chalcedon, the fathers asked the
Emperor not to call upon St. Barsauma, for they knew of the grace that was in him.
When the council agreed on the two natures of Christ, St. Barsauma resisted these
heretic teachings and he was persecuted by the Chalcedonians.
When the Lord wanted to take St. Barsauma from the world, He sent him an angel to
tell him that 4 days were left in his life on earth. He gathered his disciples and told
them to go to the neighboring cities to confirm its people in the Orthodox faith. He
blessed them and departed in peace.
At the time of his departure, a pillar of light appeared at the door of his cell which the
faithful saw from afar. They came and found that St. Barsauma had departed. They
took his blessings and buried him with great honors.
His prayers be with us all. Amen.
2. On this day also, St. Paul, the Syrian, was martyred. He was born in the City of
Alexandria to Syrian parents who lived afterwards in the City of Ashmunin. They were
very rich merchants. St. Paul heard about the persecution of the Roman governors to
Christians. He gave up his money to the poor, after the death of his parents, and
prayed to God to guide him in the way that pleased Him. God sent him His angel
Soriel, who said to the saint, "The Lord has commanded that I be with you and
strengthen you, so that you should not be afraid."
The saint arose and came before the governor of Antinoe (Ansena) and confessed the
Lord Christ. The Governor ordered him to be stripped naked, beaten with whips, and
burned in the sides with torches. The governor tried again to entice him with money,
but the saint said to him, "My parents left me a fortune of gold and silver, and I
rejected them for the sake of the love of the Lord Christ. How can I look to your
money now?"
The Governor became angry to hear that and he tortured him with different kinds of
tortures. The angel Soriel came to him, healed and strengthened him. The Governor
ordered to release venomous serpents on him, but they did not harm him.
The Governor then went to Alexandria and took the saint with him and put him in
prison, where St. Paul met his two friends: Anba Esi and his sister Teckla. His soul
rejoiced when he saw them. God inspired him that he would be martyred in Alexandria.
When the Governor wanted to go back to his city, he ordered that the head of St. Paul
be cut off at the sea shore. The faithful came and they took the body and prepared it
for burial, and they kept it in their possession.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Tenth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Martyrdom of St. James the Apostle, Son of Alphaeus.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Justus, Son of Emperor Numerian.
3. The Departure of St. Isidore of Pelusium.
4. The Martyrdom of St. Philo, Bishop of the Persian.
1. On this day, St. James the Apostle, son of Alphaeus, was martyred. After he had
preached the Gospel in many cities, he returned to Jerusalem and entered the temple
of the Jews. He preached the gospel publicly and proclaimed the faith of the Lord
Christ and His resurrection. The Jews abducted him and brought him to Claudius, the
deputy of the Roman emperor, and told him that he was preaching another king
instead of Caesar. Claudius ordered him to be stoned to death, until he departed in
peace. The faithful took his body and buried him beside the temple.
His prayers be with us all. Amen.
2. On this day also, St. Justus, son of Emperor Numerian, was martyred. When he
returned from war, he found that Emperor Diocletian had married his sister and had
become the new emperor. Emperor Diocletian had apostatized the faith in the Lord
Christ, and St. Justus was greatly sorrowful for what happened.
When the nobles of the empire met together to enthrone him in place of his father, he
did not accept, for he preferred the heavenly kingdom over the earthly. He came
before Diocletian and declared his faith in the Lord Christ. The Emperor sent St. Justus
with his son Abali and his wife Theoclea to the Governor of Alexandria, and
commanded him to persuade them first and to behead them if they did not obey.
When they arrived in Alexandria, the Governor received them and treated them well to
persuade them. As he could not change their deep conviction in their faith in the Lord
Christ, to Whom is the Glory, he sent St. Justus to Antinoe (Ansena), Abali, his son,
to Basta (near Zagazig, Sharkia), and Theoclea to Sa (Salhagar, Gharbia). Each of
them took a servant with him so when they completed their strife, the servant would
take care of the body. They tortured them, beheaded them, and they received the
crown of martyrdom.
Their prayers be with us all. Amen.
3. On this day also, the ascetic, scholar and holy man, Anba Isidore of Pelusium
(El-Pharma), departed. His parents were among the rich and noble people of Egypt. He
was related to Pope Cyril and Pope Theophilus, patriarchs of Alexandria.
He was the only child of his parents, who cared about his education. They taught him
the books of the church, and the Greek language in which he excelled and surpassed
many. He was also ascetic and humble. When he knew that the people of Alexandria
and the bishops wanted to make him the Patriarch of Alexandria, he took flight by
night to Pelusium and became a monk in a monastery there.
Then he went to a small cave where he lived alone for several years. During these
years, he wrote many books about emperors and governors. He also commented on
many books of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. His epistles that he sent to
bishops and patriarchs were counted as eighteen thousand epistles. The gifts of the
Holy Spirit poured upon him, and he reached a good old age, then departed to the
Lord in peace.
His prayers be with us all. Amen.
4. Today also, the honorable St. Philo, bishop of the Persians, was martyred by the
hand of the Persian emperor. When he did not accept worshipping fire and the sun,
they tortured him with different kinds of tortures, and then they beheaded him with
the sword.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Eleventh Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Martyrdom of St. Fabianus (Fabrianus), Pope of Rome
On this day, St. Fabianus, Pope of Rome, was martyred. This father was a righteous
scholar. He was ordained Pope for the city of Rome, so he taught his people and
guided them in the way of Christian perfection.
Decius, the head of the army, killed Emperor Philip, and replaced him as emperor.
Decius incited a severe persecution against the Christians, and many were martyred.
This infidel built a huge temple in the middle of the city of Ephesus, and erected in it
idols, where he offered sacrifices to them. He then ordered to behead everyone who
refused to sacrifice to these gods.
When Decius knew that St. Fabianus was against the worship of idols and that he was
teaching the faithful to be steadfast in their faith, he brought him to Ephesus. Decius
commanded St. Fabianus to sacrifice to the idols. St. Fabianus did not yield to him
and ridiculed his idols. The Emperor punished him with many tortures for a long time
and at the end, he beheaded him with the sword. St. Fabianus thus received the crown
of martyrdom.
This pope stayed on the throne for 12 years, the major part of which was tranquil and
peaceful.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twelfth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Commemoration of the Archangel Michael.
2. The Departure of St. Gelasius.
1. On this day we celebrate, commemorating the honorable Michael the Archangel, the
intercessor of mankind.
His intercession be with us. Amen.
2. Also on this day, St. Gelasius, the struggling ascetic, departed. He was born of
Christian parents, who brought him up in the Christian faith. They taught him the
church subjects, and then he was ordained a deacon in the church. He labored in his
obedience to Christ and in carrying His yoke.
He went to the wilderness of Shiheet and became a monk. Afterwards, he was
ordained a priest, and the angel of the Lord guided him to a distant place where many
monks gathered around him, and he was a great example for them. He considered
himself as one of them. He was patient and long suffering to the point that he
transcribed the Holy Bible and placed it in the church for the other monks to read.
One day a stranger visited him and stole the transcribed Bible and went to try to sell
it to someone. That person wanted to know its value, so he went to St. Gelasius and
showed him the Bible. St. Gelasius knew that it was his book and asked him, "For how
much did he sell it to you?" He answered, "For sixteen Dinari." The saint said to him
that it was cheap, and so the man took it and went to his home.
When the seller came back to him to pick up the price, he said to him, "I have shown
the Bible to Father Gelasius and he said that the price was too high." The seller
asked, "Did the father tell you anything else?" The buyer replied, "No." The man who
stole the Bible said, "I do not want to sell it." He took the book and went to Father
Gelasius and gave it to him weeping and regretting what he did. The saint did not
accept it from him. However, after the man had insisted with many tears, the saint at
last accepted it from him.
God granted this saint the gift of performing miracles. One day, the monastery was
presented with an amount of fish. After they were cooked, the cook asked one of the
servants to guard it, but the servant ate a great part of it. When the cook knew what
had happened, he was angry at that servant, for he ate before the time of eating and
before the elders had blessed it. The cook beat him with a deadly hit that killed him.
The cook was afraid of what he had done and went to St. Gelasius and told him what
had happened. The saint told him to take the body and put it in the church in front of
the altar and to leave it there. The saint and the monks came to the church, prayed
the Vespers prayer, and then the saint departed from the church, and the boy rose up
and followed him. The monks did not know of this miracle until the saint had departed.
When this father finished the course of his life in a good old age, the Lord wanted him
to rest from the labors of this world, and he departed leaving us with this good
memory.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Thirteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Martyrdom of St. Sergius of Atripe, His Father, Mother, Sister, and Many Others
with Them.
2. The Departure of St. Timothy III, 32nd Pope of Alexandria.
1. On this day, St. Sergius, his father, his mother, his sister and many others with
them, were martyred. This saint was born in the city of Atripe to a righteous father
whose name was Theodore, and a faithful mother whose name was Mary.
When he was 20 years old, St. Sergius desired to die for the Name of the Lord Christ.
He presented himself to Cyprianus (Cyprian), the governor, and confessed his faith in
the Lord Christ. The governor commanded him to be tortured with different kinds of
tortures and to cast him in prison. At night he saw in a vision as if he was in heaven,
and he saw the mansions of the saints. His soul was greatly comforted, and the Lord
Christ healed him from his afflictions.
A priest by the name of Mansoon heard about the labors of St. Sergius. Fr. Mansoon
came with two deacons to Atripe and confessed the Name of the Lord Christ before
the governor. The governor beat them with great cruelty. A multitude of people
watched the tortures, and moved with compassion toward the priest, who could not do
anything but to look at them, preach and command them to be steadfast in their faith
in the Lord Christ. He prayed and blessed them and they all confessed the Orthodox
faith. After they had been tortured, they were all beheaded, and received the crown of
life. However, the Governor tortured the priest with fire, but the Lord saved him. The
Governor sent him to Alexandria where he received his crown of martyrdom. As for St.
Sergius, Governor Cyprianus brought him and tortured him with excruciating tortures
but the Lord healed, strengthened and comforted him. They brought an idol and
ordered him to worship it. He kicked the idol with his foot and it fell and broke.
Cyprianus believed instantly and said, "The god that cannot save itself, cannot save
others." The captain of the soldiers "Ohios" continued to torture St. Sergius, and
ordered to skin him and to rub his wounds with salt and vinegar, but the Lord gave
him strength and grace.
His mother and his sister came to visit him and saw him in this condition, they wept
bitterly, until his sister died from her extreme grief, but God raised her up by the
prayers of the saint. St. Julius of Agfahs came, wrote the biography of St. Sergius, and
promised him that he would take care of his body and his burial. The captain "Ohios"
ordered that St. Sergius be tortured by pressing his body through the pressing wheel
(Hinbazeen), that his nails be pulled out, that he be placed over an iron bed, with a
fire under it, and that torches of fire be placed in his ears. The Lord strengthened him
through all of this and healed him. When "Ohios" the captain was tired of torturing
him, he decided to behead him.
St. Sergius called his mother and sister to bid them farewell. They came with the rest
of his family and when they saw him tied up with the bridle of a horse that was
dragging him to the place of his martyrdom, they protested to the Governor for his
extreme cruelty. He ordered to behead them all and they all received the crown of life
and the eternal bliss.
There was a young boy among the crowd whose eyes were opened by the Lord and he
saw the souls of the saints who were martyred carried by the angels, ascending to
heaven. He cried with a loud voice saying, "O My Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon
me." His parents were afraid that the governor would hear him and destroy them
because of him. When they could not calm him down, they put their hands upon his
mouth to prevent him from screaming, asking the help of the Lord Christ, until he gave
up his pure soul at the hand of the Lord.
Their prayers be with us all. Amen.
2. On this day also of the year 528 A.D., the holy father Abba Timothy III, 32nd Pope
of Alexandria, departed. His enthronement on the apostolic throne was in 511 A.D. He
suffered many hardships because he was steadfast in the Orthodox faith.
In his days, St. Severus, Patriarch of Antioch, came to Egypt escaping persecution. The
two saints traveled together to Egyptian cities and monasteries confirming the people
in the Orthodox faith. Because he did not agree with Emperor Marcion with regard to
the canons of the Council of Chalcedon, he was exiled.
On the day of his exile, the faithful opposed the enforcement of the order of his exile,
and many of them were killed, about two hundred thousand, by the order of the
Emperor. The saint departed in exile together with St. Severus of Antioch, after he had
been on the apostolic throne for 17 years.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Fourteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Departure of St. Severus, Patriarch of Antioch.
2. The Departure of St. James (Yacobus), 50th Pope of Alexandria.
1. On this day of the year 538 A.D., the holy father St. Severus, Patriarch of Antioch,
departed. He was from Asia Minor. His grandfather, whose name was also Severus,
saw in a vision someone telling him, "The child who is for your son will strengthen
Orthodoxy, and his name will be after your name." When his son had this saint, he
called him Severus. He was taught the Greek wisdom and church subjects.
Once, the saint was strolling outside the city, a shut-in saint came out of his cave
crying, "Welcome to you Severus, teacher of Orthodoxy, and Patriarch of Antioch."
Severus marvelled at how he called him by his name, for he did not know him before,
and how he foretold what would become of him.
Severus grew in virtue and became a monk in the monastery of St. Romanus. The
fame of his righteousness and his ascetic life spread out. When the Patriarch of
Antioch departed, the bishops had a consensus to ordain him the Patriarch of the city
in the year 512 A.D. The church was illuminated by his teachings which spread to all
the universe, and he was one of the fathers who attended the Universal Council at
Ephesus.
Shortly after, Emperor Anastasius died and Justinian, who was Chalcedonian in faith,
reigned after him. He called upon this holy father and gave him great honors to
persuade him to change his stand and to follow the Emperor's belief, but the Saint
refused. The Emperor became angry, but the Saint did not fear his anger, and so the
Emperor ordered him to be killed. Theodora, the Emperor's wife who was Orthodox in
faith, knew about what the Emperor intended to do, so she told the saint to flee from
his face.
St. Severus escaped to the land of Egypt and traveled everywhere and visited
monasteries disguised as a monk. He strengthened the faith of the believers in the
Orthodox doctrine. He dwelt in the city of Sakha in the home of a holy lay leader
called Doretheos. God performed through him many miracles. He departed in the city
of Sakha, and his body was relocated to the monastery of El-Zugag.
His prayers be with us all. Amen.
2. On this day also of the year 821 A.D., the great saint Abba James (St. Yacobus),
50th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius.
For his holiness and righteousness, he was chosen by a consensus to become
patriarch after Pope Mark, 49th Pope, had departed. He was enthroned in the month of
Bashans in the year 810 A.D.
St. James renovated the churches and populated the monasteries, and God granted
him the gift of performing miracles. One of the deacons in Alexandria dared to say to
him rudely, "Pay what you owe to the churches, or else go to your monastery." The
Pope replied to him, "You will never see me again from now on." The deacon went
home, immediately became sick and died shortly after.
Another miracle: There was a lay leader (Archon) named Macarius from Nabarouh who
was very well advanced in years and had no children. After a while, God gave him a
son. He made a feast to celebrate this occasion, and invited Abba James. During the
celebration, the child died but his father did not panic. He carried the child in his
hands and placed him in faith before the Pope, trusting that God would hear His
chosen one, and give life to his child. The Pope took the child and made the sign of
the cross on his forehead, his heart and his chest, while he prayed, "My Master, Jesus
Christ, the Giver of Life, raise this child alive again by Your mighty power." He
breathed in his face, and the soul of the child returned to him, and he gave him to his
father.
When he finished his good strife, Abba James departed in peace, after he had been on
the throne of St. Mark for 10 years, 9 months and 28 days.
His prayers be with us, and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Fifteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Departure of St. Zechariah, the Prophet.
2. The Consecration of the First Church Dedicated for the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.
3. The Departure of St. Paphnoute (Paphnotius).
1. On this day St. Zechariah the Prophet, the son of Berechiah, one of the twelve
minor prophets, departed. He was from the tribe of Levi, born in the land of Gilead,
and was exiled to the land of the Chaldeans. In exile, he started to prophesy, in the
second year of King Darius, 520 B.C. He prophesied about "Jeshua, the son of
Jozadak," and "Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel," that they would rebuild the temple.
(Ezra 5:1; 6:14)
He prophesied also about the entrance of the Lord to Jerusalem riding a donkey, the
foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9); the thirty pieces of silver that Judas Iscariot received
to deliver his Master to the Jews (Matthew 26:14-15); the scattering of the disciples
on the night of the crucifixion; the coming of Christ in glory; and the grief of the
children of Israel who did not believe in Him (Zechariah 12:10). He also prophesied
about many other things. He was the prophet who was killed between the altar and
the temple. He was buried in Jerusalem in the tomb of the prophets.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also is the commemoration of the consecration of the church of the
forty martyrs from Sebaste by the hand of Emperor Licinius. It was the first church
that was built after their names. St. Basil the Great consecrated it, wrote their
biographies and established a great feast day for them.
Their intercession be with us. Amen.
3. On this day also, the ascetic St. Paphnoute (Paphnotius) departed. He became a
monk at a young age, and followed the hardest way in his monastic life. God inspired
him to travel to the inner wilderness, and there he saw many hermits and anchorites
and St. Paphnoute wrote about them. Among those was St. Timothy and St. Abu Nofr.
In his travels, he suffered much hunger and thirst, but the angel of the Lord appeared
to him often to strengthen him. When he finished his strife, he departed in peace.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Sixteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Departure of St. Elizabeth, Mother of St. John the Baptist
On this day the upright and righteous St. Elizabeth, mother of St. John the Baptist,
departed. This holy woman was born in Jerusalem to a righteous father called Matthan
from the tribe of Levi and from the house of Aaron the priest. Her mother's name was
Sofia.
Matthan had three daughters. The first was called Mary, the mother of Salome, the
midwife who cared for the Virgin St. Mary during her virginal birth. The name of the
second daughter was Sofia, the mother of St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the
Baptist. The youngest daughter was St. Hannah, the mother of the Virgin St. Mary, the
mother of the Savior. Therefore, Salome, Elizabeth and the Virgin St. Mary were
cousins.
When St. Zacharias the priest married St. Elizabeth, they lived in righteousness and
holiness before God, as the evangelist said, "They were both righteous before God,
walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." (Luke 1:6)
This upright woman was barren. She and her husband continually supplicated God who
gave them St. John the Baptist. God was slow in answering their prayers until the
time when the Virgin Mary conceived with the Word of God. When they were stricken
in age, God sent His angel Gabriel to Zacharias to announce to him, "Your wife
Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John," (Luke 1:13) and the
angel told him what would become of St. John.
The Virgin St. Mary visited St. Elizabeth to congratulate her on her pregnancy. "And it
happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her
womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." (Luke 1:41) When she gave birth
to St. John, the shame of her barrenness was lifted up from her and her people. When
she completed her days in purity, righteousness and chastity, she departed in peace.
Her intercession be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Seventeenth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Martyrdom of St. Mina (Menas), the Monk
On this day St. Mina the monk was martyred. This saint was born in Akhmim to
Christian parents who were farmers. Since his youth, his heart was inclined to
renounce the world, so he became a monk in one of the monasteries of Akhmim.
For a period of time, he fasted two days at a time and he was ascetic in his food and
drink. Then he went to El-Ashmounein and dwelt in a monastery there for 16 years
without leaving it. When the Arabs ruled the country, St. Mina heard that they denied
that God had a Son from His nature and essence, and equal with Him in Eternity. This
denial of faith was painful to the saint, so he took permission from the abbot of the
monastery and went to El-Ashmounein.
He came before the commander of the Arab camp and asked him, "Is it true that you
say that God has no Son from His nature and essence?" The commander replied
saying, "We deny that saying about God and totally reject it." The saint told the Arab
commander that it should only be rejected if His Son was born through parental
procreation, but our belief is that the Lord Christ is God of God, and Light of Light.
The commander replied, "In our faith, this is blasphemy." The saint told him that the
Bible says, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not
believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides in him." (John 3:36)
The commander became enraged at this and ordered his soldiers to cut the saint into
pieces and to throw him into the sea. The believers gathered the pieces of his body,
shrouded and buried it. They arranged a commemoration of St. Mina the monk on this
day.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Eighteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Departure of St. Malatius the Confessor, Patriarch of Antioch
On this day of the year 381 A.D., St. Malatius (Miltius) the Confessor, Patriarch of
Antioch, departed. He was ordained a bishop for Sebaste in the year 357 A.D. He left
it because of the rudeness of its people and lived a solitary life nearby the city of
Halab in Syria. In the year 360 A.D., he was chosen a patriarch for Antioch during the
days of Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great.
He was an eminent, learned and meek man, who was loved by everyone. When he
entered the city of Antioch, he resisted the Arians and kept them away from the
churches. When the Emperor heard that, he exiled him in the same year that he was
enthroned patriarch. The noble men of the city of Antioch, the bishops and the priests
met and wrote to the Emperor asking for the return of the Patriarch. The Emperor
returned St. Malatius in shame to them.
When St. Malatius came back in the year 362 A.D., he did not cease resisting the
Arians, excommunicating them and all those who believed in their doctrines. He made
clear to them their errors and explained to them their blasphemy. He declared,
preached and confirmed that the Son was of the same essence as the Father,
consubstantial with Him in essence and in Godship. The followers of Arius returned to
slander St. Malatius before Emperor Valens, who exiled him again to a country further
away than the one to which he was exiled first. When he arrived to his exile, the
bishops and the fathers that were exiled from different countries came and gathered
around
and stayed with him.
St. Malatius did not slack in teaching and interpreting what was difficult to understand
in the Holy Scriptures. His epistles reached his flock, in spite of the distance,
confirming their faith in the Holy Trinity, preaching the faith of the Council of Nicea
and refuting the teachings of Arius.     He was in exile for many years until his return
to Antioch in the year 378 A.D. He was present in the Council of Constantinople in the
year 381 A.D. Then he departed in peace.
St. John Chrysostom (Golden Mouthed) praised St. Malatius on his feast day declaring
his greatness and that he was not in any less stature than the apostles in honor for
what he suffered from exile and humiliation for the sake of the Orthodox faith.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Nineteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Commemoration of the Relocation of the Relics of St. Martianus, the Monk
On this day we commemorate the relocation of the relics of St. Martianus
(Martinianus) the fighter monk from Athens to Antioch. After he led an adulterous
woman to repentance and then to monasticism, he placed her in one of the convents.
Then he went to an island and visited many countries. Finally, he came to the city of
Athens where he stayed for a short while, until he fell sick and departed in peace.
St. Demetrius, Patriarch of Antioch, took on the endeavor to relocate the relics of the
saint during the reign of Emperor Valens the Infidel. St. Demetrius sent priests to
Athens. They carried the body of St. Martianus with great honor to Antioch. He placed
the body in a sarcophagus and appointed a feast to celebrate him on this day.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twentieth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Departure of St. Peter, 21st Pope of Alexandria.
2. The Commemoration of Sts. Basil, Theodore and Timothy, the Martyrs.
1. On this day of the year 370 A.D., the blessed father Abba Peter II, 21st Pope of
Alexandria, departed. He was the successor of St. Athanasius the apostolic, who was
his teacher. Anba Peter II suffered many tribulations from the followers of Arius who
often tried to kill him, but he escaped them.
He was forced to hide for two years, during which the Arians put in his place one of
them named Lucius. Nevertheless, the believers were able to remove Lucius, the false
pope, and brought back Anba Peter who remained on his chair for 6 years of
persecution, during which he resisted the Arians. When he completed 8 years, the Lord
relieved him from the toil of this world and he departed to the eternal bliss.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also is the commemoration of Saints Basil, Theodore and Timothy, the
martyrs, in the city of Alexandria.
Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-First Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Commemoration of the Virgin St. Mary.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Onesimus, the Disciple of St. Paul.
3. The Departure of St. Gabriel, 57th Pope of Alexandria.
4. The Departure of St. Zacharias, Bishop of Sakha.
1. We celebrate on this day the commemoration of the pure Lady St. Mary the Virgin,
the Mother of God, the Word, through whom was the salvation of Adam and his
offspring.
Her intercession be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also St. Onesimus, the disciple of St. Paul, was martyred. This saint
was a slave for a man from Rome called Philemon who believed at the hands of St.
Paul, when he heard his preaching in Rome.
Philemon departed from Rome on a business trip and took with him Onesimus among
others of his servants. There the devil enticed Onesimus, so he stole money from his
master and fled to Rome. According to the Divine Will, Onesimus attended the
preaching of St. Paul, which he kept in his heart. He believed at the hand of St. Paul
and his heart was filled with the grace and the fear of God. He remembered what he
stole from his master and from others and since he did not have anything left from the
stolen money to return to its rightful owners, he was sorrowful and told St. Paul about
that.
St. Paul comforted him and wrote an epistle to Onesimus' master, Philemon, informing
him in it, that Onesimus became a follower of Christ saying, "I appeal to you for my
son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains." St. Paul asked him to treat
him gently and not to mind what he did but to consider what he lost as owed by the
apostle.
When Onesimus took the epistle to his master Philemon, he was pleased by his faith
and repentance and treated him as the apostle commanded. Furthermore, he offered
him more money but St. Onesimus refused saying, "I am rich with Christ." Then he bid
Philemon farewell and returned to Rome.
St. Onesimus continued to serve St. Paul until his martyrdom and deserved to be
ordained a priest. After the martyrdom of St. Paul, the governor of Rome seized him
and exiled him to one of the islands. He remained there preaching and baptizing the
people of the island. When the governor came to the island, he found him guiding the
people to the belief in the Lord Christ. He was beaten severely and his legs were
broken. He departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
3. On this day also of the year 911 A.D., the great father St. Gabriel, 57th Pope of
Alexandria, departed. This saint became a monk at a young age, practicing many
worships. He loved solitary life and wept much while praying, asking the Lord to save
him from the snares of the devil. When Pope Mikhael, 56th Pope, departed, they chose
this father to be the Pope in his place. He was ordained in the year 900 A.D. against
his will. He cared for the church affairs well, and the duties of the patriarchate did not
prevent him from his worship and asceticism.
He spent most of his days in the wilderness and whenever he had some affairs to take
care of in Cairo or Alexandria, he would leave and then return back to the wilderness.
He fought against the flesh and the devil by increasing fasting, watching, prayers and
humility. He used to wake up in the night, put on a ragged garment, take a metal
shovel and go around the bathrooms of the monks' cells, washing and cleaning them.
He did the same for many years until the Lord looked upon his humility and humble
heart, so He relieved his pains and gave him the grace of victory over sin and the
body. This father was a worshipper, fighter and a preacher for 11 years, then he
departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
4. On this day also St. Zacharias, Bishop of Sakha, departed. He was the son of a
scribe called John who left his job and was chosen to be a priest. His son Zacharias
was raised on studying literary and religious subjects.
When he grew up, El-Wazeer appointed him as a scribe in his court. Afterward he
agreed with a friend called Ptolemy who was the prefect of the town of Sakha, to
leave their work and go to the wilderness to become monks. That coincided with the
coming of a monk from the monastery of St. John the Short, so they decided to go
with him to the monastery. When the ruler (El-Wazeer) knew about that, he prevented
them from going to the monastery.
A few days later, they saw a vision as if someone was asking them, "Why did you not
fulfill your vow?" Immediately, they left in secret, walking to the wilderness, without
knowing their way. They met on their way, by the will of God, a monk who took them
to the monastery of St. John the Short (Colobos). When their friends knew about that,
they took a letter from the Governor to bring them back, but the Lord defeated their
counsel. As for Zacharias and his friend, they put on the garb of the monks and
exerted themselves in many worships. That was during the time of the saints Abba
Gawargah and Abba Abraham who were the best guides for them.
When the Bishop of Sakha departed, the people wrote to the father, the Patriarch,
asking for Zacharias to be their bishop. The Patriarch brought him and ordained him
against his will. At the time of the ordination, when the Pope was about to put his
hands on Zacharias' head, a light shined in the church and his face appeared as a
bright star.
When he arrived to his diocese, the people rejoiced and went out to meet him with
great honor. The church was illumined with his teachings. St. Zacharias was eloquent
and filled with grace and he wrote many articles, sermons and discourses. He stayed
on his chair for 30 years, then departed in peace.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Second Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Departure of St. Maruta (Maruthas) the Bishop
On this day the church commemorates the departure of St. Maruta (Maruthas), bishop
ofMarjferqat (Mia Farcane), and the relocation of the relics of the saints who were
martyred there in the days of Emperor Diocletian.
St. Maruthas was a knowledgeable and righteous man. For this reason, Emperor
Theodosius, father of Arcadius and Honorius, selected him to serve as a good will
ambassador to the king of Persia, Sapor II, to negotiate with him the conditions of the
truce that both wanted to sign. King Shapur (Sapor) welcomed him and housed him in
a royal palace.
When St. Maruthas knew that the king had a demented daughter, he asked to bring
her to him. He prayed over her and she was healed. King Shapur was overjoyed and
became more courteous to St. Maruthas.
The saint asked the King for the relics of the saints who were martyred in Persia, and
the King gave him permission to take them. The saint took the relics for which he built
a church and a great fortress around it. Later on, a city was built inside the walls of
the fortress, which was named after Maruthas.
After the saint had finished his mission, he returned to Emperor Theodosius, and
stayed in Rome until his departure.
His prayers be with us and to our God is the Glory forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Third Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Martyrdom of St. Eusebius, Son of Basilides, the Minister
On this day, St. Eusebius, the son of Basilides, the minister, was martyred. This Saint
was one of the soldiers who fought in the war against Persia. When Diocletian
abandoned the faith, Basilides, informed his son, Eusebius, of what Diocletian had
done. Then St. Eusebius in turn told his companions, the holy men: Abadir, Yustos,
Ecladius, and Theodore about this matter. They all agreed to shed their blood in the
Name of the Lord Christ.
When the war was over, they returned to Antioch carrying the flag of victory. The
Emperor went out to meet them, and asked them to worship his idols with him, but
they all refused. Eusebius pulled his sword out, and tried to kill Diocletian and all who
were with him, but Diocletian fled and disappeared. If not for the presence of
Basilides, Eusebius and the saints with him could have killed all the leaders of the
government.
Romanus, one of the ministers of the Emperor, advised him to exile Eusebius to Egypt
to be killed there. He sent him to the governor of Qift (Coptos), Maurianus, who
inflicted upon him many tortures from the Hinbazeen (the squeezing wheel),
dismemberment, and by severe beatings. The Lord sent to him His angel to
strengthen him in his afflictions, to comfort him and to heal his wounds. The Lord
showed him in a vision the paradise and the mansions of the saints, and the places
that had been prepared for him, his father and his brother, and his soul exceedingly
rejoiced.
The Governor ordered him to be burned in a fiery furnace outside the City of Ahnas.
The angel of the Lord came and put out the fire and took St. Eusebius out safely.
Finally the Governor ordered him beheaded and thus he received the crown of
martyrdom.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Fourth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Departure of St. Agapetus (Agapius), the Bishop.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Timothy and St. Matthias.
1. On this day St. Agapetus (Agapius), the bishop, departed. He was born of Christian
parents during the time of the infidel emperors Diocletian and Maximianus. His
parents brought him up in a Christian upbringing, and he was ordained a deacon.
Then, he went to one of the monasteries and served the elders therein. He learned
from them worship and asceticism and was accustomed to fasting and prayer. His food
was legumes to break the fast. He grew in his ascetic life and in every virtue, and God
wrought through him many miracles, among which were the following:
He healed a girl from a debilitating sickness which had stricken her for a long time,
and doctors had failed to cure her. He also prayed once and God destroyed a beast
which was devouring people. By his prayers, God granted healing to many sick people.
The news of his asceticism, righteousness and the power of his prayer spread
everywhere. When Lucinus the governor heard about St. Agapius, he brought him by
force and appointed him a soldier in his army. This did not prevent St. Agapius from
continuing in his ascetic life and his worship and he rather increased in virtue.
Shortly after, God perished Diocletian and the God-loving emperor Constantine took
over the empire after him. St. Agapius desired to gain his freedom and to return to his
monastery, and God answered him.
Emperor Constantine had a servant who was very dear to him for the good qualities he
had. The servant was stricken with an evil spirit which tormented him. Some friends of
the Emperor advised him to ask Agapius, the soldier, to pray for his servant to be
healed. The Emperor was surprised to know that one among his soldiers had the gift
of healing. The Emperor sent for St. Agapius who prayed upon the servant, made the
sign of the holy cross over him, and God healed him.
The Emperor rejoiced and wanted to reward him. St. Agapius refused to accept any
reward except to be granted his release from military service to go back to the place
of his worship. The Emperor granted him what he wanted. The saint returned to where
he was before and he lived a solitary life. After a while, he was ordained a priest.
After the departure of the bishop of his town, the people asked for this saint from the
abbot of the monastery, and he gave him his permission to leave. St. Agapius was
ordained bishop and  shepherded the flock of Christ with the best of care. He was
granted the gift of prophecy and performing miracles. He rebuked the sinners for what
they had done in secret. He rebuked the priests for forsaking teaching and instructing
their flocks. His biography included more than one hundred miracles that he had
performed, and he departed at a good old age.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also is the commemoration of the martyrdom of St. Timothy of Gaza,
and St. Matthias of the City of Koos (Quoce).
Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Martyrdom of Sts. Archippus, Philemon and Lycia the Virgin.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Quona (Kona) and St. Mina.
1. On this day, the Sts. Archippus, Philemon and Lycia the virgin, were martyred. They
believed through St. Paul when he was preaching in Phrygia.
One day the pagans were celebrating the feast of Artamis. The saints entered their
temple to see what they were doing and to see their rituals. They saw them offering
sacrifices to the idol and glorifying it.
The divine zeal inflamed their hearts, and they went out of the temple and went to
the church declaring the glory of the Lord Christ and magnifying His Holy Name. When
the pagans heard about what the saints had done, they informed the Governor, who
attacked the church and arrested them. He tortured the saints by driving hot nails in
to their sides. He threw St. Archippus into a ditch and ordered him to be stoned until
he gave up his pure spirit. St. Philemon and St. Lycia were also tortured with different
kinds of tortures until they gave up their spirits.
Their prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also is the commemoration of the martyrdom of the deacon Quona of
the City of Rome, and the martyrdom of St. Mina of Cyprus.
Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Sixth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
1. The Departure of St. Hosea, the Prophet.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Zadok and the 128 who were with Him.
1. On this day, St. Hosea, the prophet, one of the twelve minor prophets of Israel,
departed. This righteous man prophesied during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and
Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, King of
Israel. (Hosea 1:1)
He mentioned in his prophecy some remarkable and marvelous things. He rebuked the
children of Israel for their sins and their transgressions, and warned them in advance
about the evil things that would befall them because of their offenses. He promised
them the uplifting of these calamities if they returned to the Lord their God.
He also prophesied about the passions of our Savior, His resurrection and the
salvation of the human race. He said, "He has torn, but He will heal us; He has
stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He
will raise us up, that we may live in his sight. Let us know, let us pursue the
knowledge of the Lord... " (Hosea 6:1-3)
He prophesied also about the abolishment of the sting of death and the dominion of
hell by saying, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them
from death, O Death, I will be your plagues! 0 Grave, I will be your destruction."
(Hosea 13:14) "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" (I
Corinthians 15:55)
He departed at a blessed old age.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, St. Zadok and the 128 saints with him were martyred in Persia.
Behram, King of Persia, brought them before him and ordered them to worship the
sun. St. Zadok said to him, "I do not worship except God, the Creator of the sun and
all the universe." The King asked, "Does this Sun have a god?" The saint replied, "Yes,
and He is the Lord Christ, our God." The King ordered him beheaded. The saint prayed
and the executioner cut his head. A great light appeared and all those who were
present saw it and cried, saying, "We are all Christians." The King ordered that their
heads be cut off and they received the crown of martyrdom.
Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Seventh Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Departure of St. Eustathius, Patriarch of Antioch
On this day of the year 330 A.D., St. Eustathius, Patriarch of Antioch, departed in
exile. He was enthroned Patriarch of Antioch during the reign of the righteous Emperor
Constantine the Great. He was righteous and well learned. He attended the Nicene
Council, and the fathers gathered there agreed on excommunicating Arius and exiling
him and all those who believed in his teachings. Those were Eusabius the Nicomedian;
Thaoghonius, Bishop of Nicea; and Eusabius, Bishop of Caesarea.
After the council was concluded and the fathers went back to their parishes, those
who were excommunicated pretended that they wished to go to Jerusalem, but
instead they went to Antioch. There, they enticed a harlot with money and other
things in order to accuse St. Eustathius the Patriarch that he fathered a child from her.
She took the money and went to the church and said as they had instructed her. They
pretended to disbelieve her and said, "Bring forth your proof if you are truthful in what
you are saying. We will not accept your statement unless you swear on the Bible that
what you claim against this father is true." She swore to them and they replied, "We
do not need any more proof."
They condemned St. Eustathius and judged to strip him from his episcopal rank. They
informed Emperor Constantine saying: "A council of clerics judged to remove Fr.
Eustathius, Patriarch of Antioch, from his office". The Emperor believed their
unfounded judgement, and he deposed and banished St. Eustathius to Thrace where
the saint remained until his departure.
The Lord God, Who loves His holy servants, did not neglect to reveal the truth. The
woman became ill with a debilitating long illness and suffered great pain. She realized
that her suffering was a punishment for her false accusation against the Saint. She
came and confessed before the people of the city that the charge she had brought
against St. Eustathius the patriarch was untrue. She pointed at those who bribed her
with money to lie. She indicated that the Patriarch was innocent and that the child
was born to another man whose name was the same as the Patriarch. They convinced
her to swear against the Saint but at the same time to mean in heart her friend who
was the father of the child, to be saved from falsely swearing.
The priests resumed mentioning the name of St. Eustathius in the divine liturgy after
his innocence was evident. He was eulogized and praised by St. John Chrysostom (of
the Golden Mouth) on the day of his commemoration.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Martyrdom of St. Theodore, the Roman
On this day St. Theodore (Theodoros), the Roman, was martyred. He was from the
City of Astir (Peshotep) during the reign of the Emperors Maximianus and Diocletian.
When they were informed that the saint did not adore their idols, they brought him
and asked him to worship the idols but he refused.
They promised him precious gifts but he did not hearken to them. They tortured him
by pressing his body in the Hinbazeen, and hacking parts of his body. He was burned
with fire and beat him with whips. He endured all that because of his love for the Lord
Christ Who sent His angels to comfort and strengthen him. Finally he was beheaded
and received the crown of martyrdom.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Ninth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna
On this day of the year 167 A.D., St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was martyred. His
life began at the end of the first Christian century, and he became the disciple of St.
John the Evangelist. He was the one about whom the Lord said, "And to the angel of
the church in Smyrna write, 'These things says the First and the Last, Who was dead,
and came to life: I know your works, tribulations and poverty, but you are rich; and I
know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue
of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the
devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will
have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of
life.'" (Revelation 2:8-10)
St. Polycarp went to Rome in the year 157 A.D. to settle a dispute with Arikestus,
Bishop of Rome, in regard to the Easter feast. He shepherded his flock well and
remained on his chair for a long time until a good old age. He wrote many articles and
discourses about the Holy Advent, death, hell, torments of hell, the virgin St. Mary
and many others. He attracted many souls to the Lord with his life-giving teaching.
When Emperor Marcus Aurelius incited persecutions against Christians, they strongly
pressured him saying, "Swear and we will set you free; curse Christ and we will spare
your life." Polycarp replied, "I have served my Lord Christ for 86 years and He never
harmed me so how can I blaspheme against my King Who saved me?"
The Governor said, "If you do not fear the wild beasts, I will make the fire consume
you if you do not repent." St. Polycarp said, "You threatened me with fire that burns
for a while, then burns out, for you do not know the everlasting fire of judgement and
the eternal punishment that are awaiting the evil ones. Now why are you lingering? Do
whatever you want."
After severe tortures and many threats, the saint wished to shed his blood for Christ's
name. He commanded and taught his people to be steadfast in faith and told them
that they would not see his face after that day. They wept and tried to hold him down
to prevent him from leaving but they failed to stop him.
He went and confessed the Lord Christ before the Governor who ordered to cut off his
head after much torture; thus he received the crown of life. Some of the believers took
his body, shrouded and buried it with great honor.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Thirtieth Day of the Blessed Month of Amshir
The Appearance of the Head of St. John the Baptist
On this day we celebrate the commemoration of the appearance of the head of St.
John the Baptist. Herod commanded his head to be cut off and brought on a platter
and given to Herodias, according to her request. (Mark 6:7-28) It was said that after
the feast he regretted the slaying of St. John so he kept the head in his house.
Aritas, the Arabic King, Herod's father-in-law, was enraged because Herod banished
his daughter and married the wife of his brother, while his brother was still alive.
Aritas instigated a war against Herod in revenge for his daughter. He overcame Herod,
dispersed his army and destroyed the cities of Galilee.
When Tiberius Caesar learned that the reason for these wars was the slaying of a
prophet, who was great among his people, by Herod, who banished his wife, the
daughter of Aritas, the Arabian king, and married his brother's wife, he summoned
Herod and Herodias to Rome. Herod hid the head of St. John in his palace and went to
Rome. When he arrived there, Tiberius removed him from his position and stripped
him of all his possessions and exiled him to Spain where he died. Herod's palace was
ruined and became an example for those who might think of following in his footsteps.
A few years later, two believing men from Homs went to Jerusalem to spend the holy
fast (Lent) there. Night fell on them while passing by the ruins of Herod's palace, so
they spent the night there. St. John appeared to one of them and told him about his
name and the whereabouts of his head and ordered him to take it to his house. When
he woke up, the man told this to his friend and they went to the place where the head
was buried. They dug and found a sealed pottery vessel. When they opened that
vessel, a sweet aroma spread out of it. They found the holy head, took its blessing
and placed it back in the vessel. The man that saw the vision took it to his house. He
put it in a safe place and put a candle in front of it. Before his departure, he told his
sister about it and she went on doing the same thing.
The head was handed from one person to another until it came to the hand of a
follower of Arius who attributed the wonders and miracles that happened through the
holy head to the heresy of Arius. The Lord commanded someone to force him out of
his house. The place of the head remained unknown until the time of St. Cyril
(Kyrillos), Bishop of Jerusalem. St. John appeared to Abba Martianus, Bishop of Homs,
in his sleep and told him about the place of the head. He went there and found the
head and that was on the thirtieth of the month of Amshir.
The prayers of this saint be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
On this day also of the year 1971 A.D., the holy and righteous father Abba Kyrillos the
Sixth, theone hundred and sixteenth Pope of Alexandria, departed. God has accorded
this pure father the gift of working great miracles even after his departure.
His prayers and blessings be with us. Amen.